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Talking Law with Ivie Omoregie: When You Discover You’re Not the Father

Ivie Omoregie

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A few months ago I watched a heart wrenching video of an Igbo man who discovered his only son was not actually his biological child. After 32 years of being a wonderful and loving father and relocating the boy’s destiny to England, the boy’s mother calls them to drop the bombshell. Recently, we have been seeing a lot of news about paternity testing in Nigeria. There have been many funny memes about it, but anyone who has actually faced this in reality will tell you that it is not a laughing matter.

This just made me wonder; a lot of the time when a woman gives birth in Nigeria she tends to be married, and the father of the child is presumed to be the woman’s husband. In almost all instances where a woman tells a man that he is the father of her child, she would be offended if he asked for a paternity test. However, after talking to several friends about the topic, one comment that was reoccurring was, “Ivie you cannot even begin to understand how many men in Nigeria are raising children that are not biologically theirs. Many of them continue with the marriage because of image, but tend to start misbehaving uncontrollably”.

This article talks about paternity fraud and the legal implications in Nigeria and abroad for same.

Paternity Fraud
Paternity fraud is where a woman leads a man to believe he is the legitimate and biological father of a child. This may be either by misidentification, where the woman is wrong in her own belief as to who the child’s father is; or may be outright fraud, where the mother knows categorically that the man is not the child’s biological father, but for reasons best known to her, continually tells him “You Are The Father…”.

In 2015 a survey conducted by Durex revealed that Nigerian women are amongst the most unfaithful in the world; the DNA department of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital has estimated that approximately 30% of Nigerian men are not the biological fathers of their children. However, many others believe paternity fraud is even more prevalent than this. Some argue that in most cases women know who the biological father of their children are and that misidentifications are rare.

The Legal Implications – Abroad
In other jurisdictions, paternity fraud is a very serious issue. As you can imagine, with the gravity of child maintenance in these countries, such a mistake often turns out to be a very expensive mistake. In this case, the authorities have the right to use the affidavit of paternity or birth certificate, both signed by the father, as proof of paternity in child maintenance cases.

The laws relating to child maintenance vary from region to region; however, what resonates is that the best interests of the child are of the utmost importance. Thus, where there have been confirmed cases of paternity fraud, the courts have the onus of determining whether payments should continue, or whether the father may cease continuation of payments.

It has not been unheard of, for a man to be mandated to continue child maintenance payments for a child who has been revealed as being unrelated to the man where maintaining the status quo has been deemed as being in the best interest of the child.

Implications Of Paternity Fraud
Depending on jurisdiction, women involved in paternity fraud are often guilty of a criminal offence, however many courts are unwilling to convict on grounds of paternity fraud. This is because, the best interests of the child are of paramount concern.

Where the mother is able to prove that the matter is a genuine misidentification, as opposed to outright fraud, then this may successfully mitigate any possible liability she may have; or rather, the presiding judges willingness to extend the full ambits of the law against her.

In most instances, the only recourse a man would have is a monetary claim against the woman for all the monies exhausted on that child, however the likelyhood of her having the capacity to repay monies, expanded over the course of several years in one lump sum, are slim to none. Where the child is a teenager, damages awarded in such an instance could run into the millions.

The Legal Implications – Nigeria
Unfortunately there seems to be no case history in a court of record for paternity fraud in Nigeria. As stated above, it is something that is definitely happening in our society. Regrettably, due to our culture of keeping things in house, in most instances parental/community intervention and church counselling, are the primary means of conflict resolution.
The most one might possibly hear is that, Tunde and Yinka are no longer together, and that Tunde doesn’t even take care or see his “daughters” again.

Some believe that another reason for sweeping things under the carpet is that in most instances there is no court intervention, where a man has a child through extra-marital affairs or out of wedlock. Fathers simply know that they have an obligation to cater for their children, and so tend do so. Thus why would there be court intervention in this case?

Conclusion
Unfortunately in Nigeria we have not gotten to the stage where any man has actually sued a woman for paternity fraud. However, just like spousal support for men, any man who establishes that he has been wrongly maintaining a child who is not his biological child, has a claim against the mother of said child – in the form of monetary damages. How the Nigerian courts might decide to handle the matter is an entirely different matter.

Any man who believes that a child is not his biological child should seek a DNA test immediately. I believe, for the well being of the child, it is something that really should be highlighted and rectified as soon as possible. Every man has the right to be able to forge solid relationships with their biological children and every child has the right to know their biological fathers.

Many men sign a child’s birth certificate without “doing the needful” and I believe this is where the problem lies. Mandatory paternity tests at the time of birth will significantly solve the issue of paternity fraud.

In Nigeria we are very far from such an order being likely to be implemented. If all else fails, I would advise women to simply pray that the child is a splitting image of the identified father, thus avoiding unnecessary questioning.

Ivie Omoregie is the Founding Consultant at Skye Advisory. Skye Advisory is a boutique business advisory firm with locations in London, England, as well as Lagos, Nigeria. Skye Advisory offers bespoke Legal, Financial and General Business advisory services to small and micro businesses.  Ivie is a duly qualified lawyer with years of cross border experience in the areas of Corporate Advisory, Energy and Projects, Finance and Litigation.  Ivie is also an active member of the Nigerian Bar Association as well as an avid Business Advisor, Political Analyst and Human Rights promoter.  View more details about her at www.IvieOmoregie.com. Follow her on Twitter @Ivie_Omoregie and Instagram @Skye.Advisory "

44 Comments

  1. Victor Adegoke

    June 12, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    It is a delicate issue in Nigeria, God help us!

  2. Deleke

    June 12, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Looks like The Maury Show will thrive in Nigeria.
    In the case of 8 year old, Abiodun
    Chief; You are NOT the father
    Otunba: You are NOT the father
    Mukaila: You ARE the father

  3. swagg1

    June 12, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    I am aware of a situation where a family wanted to relocate to the US and DNA was required as part of the process. Boy, the result came back shocking that the dad wasnt the father of the only two children they have together. Needless to say that was the end of the relocation as US embassy rejected their application alledging fraud and also the end the marriage.

    • Summer

      June 12, 2017 at 9:10 pm

      When I was much younger, someone actually said that relocating abroad is a tool of the enemy to destroy happy homes?

      I know someone whose DNA did not match his father’s when his father and stepmother were relocating many years ago. And no, he was not informed. The father had always been deadbeat anyway, so he chalked it up to them being their wicked selves.

  4. Darius

    June 12, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    “In 2015 a survey conducted by Durex revealed that Nigerian women are amongst the most unfaithful in the world….”
    And I used to think Paul, Chief and John are just being overly critical of Naija women. That Naija women always scream blue murder and accuse Naija men of sexual promiscuity when they are a lot worse is something that beats my imagination.

    Chai! Between Lucifer and a woman, I don’t know who is more deceitful. If any lady ever complains of Naija men on BN comment section, I’ll come at that person with angry vituperations. In other countries, Naija men are hot cakes! South African and Ethiopian ladies amongst others(who, in my opinion, are far more comely and homely than Naija women) kill to have Naija men, because we have fine qualities and we make good husbands. But here in Naija, the reverse is the case. Our women always bring out the beast in us. Why won’t a man cheat when he realizes that “his children” are not from his loins? If you go to SDK and see how Naija women go anonymous to tell how they cheat on their husbands, you’ll run for dear life anytime you see a Naija babe. Talk about devil incarnates!

    Naija women are just terrible, domineering, deceitful, promiscuous, materialistic and ugly. Chief, Paul and Paul have been right all this while, but I was reluctant to concur with them most times because I didn’t want to come across as a misogynist. This is an eye-opener!

    • Devils...

      June 12, 2017 at 2:36 pm

      ” If you go to SDK and see how Naija women go anonymous to tell how they cheat on their husbands,…”

      WOW

    • Mawi

      June 12, 2017 at 3:04 pm

      So Durex is your standard? As in, all along u have heard others criticise naija women and u didn’t believe them, but you would believe a foreign condom brand? So where is your own opinion based on ur own personal experiences? Why do u need faceless comments and an organisation to steer your reasoning? Have u ever been with a naija woman? Are your mother and sisters Nigerian? Your female co-workers? Classmates? What is your own opinion of them based on your own observations? How many naija women out of the millions existing have u encountered personally?
      I’m asking all these because it baffles me that a grown man confidently admitted to agreeing to a consensus (on his own people) based on a foreign survey. What do u think that says about ur level of intelligence?
      I don’t care about ur opinion on Nigerian women, hence I didn’t even mention it. I’m more amazed by HOW u came about that opinion(as admitted by yourself). It is hilariously stupid and quite frankly, the dumbest thing I’ve heard in a long time. Lmaooo….

      Oh and by the way, did it cross ur mind that maybe, just maybe Durex reached its conclusions because of the relative proportion of the high number of Nigerian women compared to other nationalities? Have u forgotten that Nigeria is one of the most populated countries in the world? So let’s say you compare Nigerians and Ghanaians for example. And say, 25% of women in each of these respective countries are ‘scum’. Being that Nigeria is wayyyy more populated, doesn’t that mean that the number of ‘scum’ Nigerian women would be higher?
      I’m not an English language genius but do u get my point? Or do you need a sanitary pad manufacturing company to break that down for you as well?

    • Darius

      June 12, 2017 at 3:42 pm

      @Mawi, I thought you had a good head on your shoulders, but I’m utterly disappointed. Your comment shows an annoying dearth of common sense.

      As far as truth is concerned, we can’t pick and choose what to believe. Isn’t it crystal clear that Nigerian women are unrepentanly promiscuous? Why do you shy away from the truth?

      You have succeeded in saying nothing! A reputable company carried out a survey to impartially garner women’s opinion. They came up with an unbiased report, and you here telling me BS.

      I need a sanitary pad manufacturing company to break it down for me. It’s more profitable to keep mute when you have nothing credible to say. The company, Durex, you are trying to discredit makes products that are trusted by millions of promiscuous Naija women.

      Trust their product, but call their credibility into question when they publish an unbiased report about Naija women! Rubbish!

    • Iya ibeji

      June 12, 2017 at 4:07 pm

      Darius, at this point it is safe to conclude that you are now operating at the mental level of the likes of Chief, John, Paul. I pray you all get the help you need before its too late and you begin to off your pata on the street.

    • Mawi

      June 12, 2017 at 5:26 pm

      @Darius, you keep displaying your humorous silliness. Where in my comment did I defend or shy away from any allegation against your women? You are simply unintelligent and you refuse to answer my only question which was, WHY DO YOU NEED ANOTHER TO MAKE UR OWN MIND UP?? I never discredited Durex. Read again. I didn’t oppose nor agree to anything. My only concern (again) is why it took Durex to convince you. Are you that daft? Are you a child ni? Haba, you sef reason am na. You say I lack common sense? oh well, at least I make my own decisions and arrive at my own conclusions. Doesnt that make me better than you?
      At least John, Chief etc made up their minds a long time ago and have been consistent on their stance. You on the other hand, needed strangers from a far away land to do that for you. Find yourself Darius and pick a struggle.
      So let me ask, if Durex decides to withdraw their statement today and claim it was an accidental conclusion, would u also follow suit and change ur mind once again? Rather than going off point, could u read slowly and digest my point? Slooowwwwlyyyyyyy oh, before you harm yourself.

    • Chief

      June 12, 2017 at 6:08 pm

      @Darius,

      I’m happy that you have seen what we are saying about Nigeria women.Nigeria women are cheats,negro bedwenches,bed rats,domineering,manipulative etc.Nigeria women are becoming promiscuous with more sexual partners than men.They are also twice as likely to be unfaithful with 85% of them have admitted to have cheated on their men,yet if their men was caught being unfaithful,99% of them would show him the door.An average Nigeria woman would married for money,they are materialistic.To them money is an aphrodisiac.An average Nigeria woman can’t love,it is not love they are after what they truly want is value/status and money.I have been telling these simps to stop craving for Nigeria women love because they are not designed to love,To them love is worthless especially if you as a man can’t provide resources and protection.95% of Nigeria women would have an affair with a married man,sleep with their boss for a promotion and also would sleep with their best friend’s partner/husband

      I had a friend that traveled to village to get an agreeable,submissive and co-operative Nigeria woman,only to married and brought her to the city to be played like a fiddle.Nigerian woman lack docility.

    • Bimbo

      June 12, 2017 at 8:46 pm

      Maybe naija men make better husbands to foreign women ! They don’t make good husbands to Nigerian women in a lot of cases.

    • Cmbo

      June 13, 2017 at 4:07 pm

      Can the women who participated in the Durex survey please raise their hands? All these invisible surveys that you people are sharing…… See the way your blood is boiling. Pls go and do your dna, nobody holding your pocket!

  5. john

    June 12, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    @darius , my brother , I like that ur comment about Nigerian women bringing out the worst in men, there is no difference btw Nigerian women and black american women..the same formula but different climate.. haven’t u notice how calm and peaceful a black man married to a white woman is, always smiling and focused , even if that relationship later fails , they will still go and date another white woman…..black sadistic woman will try to shame him by saying he hate his colour or white women is after his money which is a pure lie..as if black women are after u for love ( give me a break) ..No one hates themselves more than black woman with their every day fake weaves and bleaching , trying to change who they are….I said it before and I will continue saying it ( if u dont like it goto 3rd mainland bridge and jump off)… if u remove all black women from africa and inject only white women and maybe some asian women, africa will be better than Europe in just one generation..put the same black women in europe and watch it turn to a 3rd world continent over night… the worst place an unborn child can be is in a black woman’s womb ,other race of women bring the best in black men..they make them think they can take the whole world…even when u divorce a white woman , there is minimal scandal while everybody go their separate ways but divorce a black woman, 20 years after , there is still one drama after another from her..be kind and gentle to a black woman , they will abuse it and regard u as a mumu person..it is in there DNA …….DNA should be made compusely in Nigeria but even if it is not , bring out money and do one especially the first child , it is still cheaper and better than raising a bastard child expecially when ure not the one that disvirgined ur wife but if u want continue simping around and be doing captain -save -a hoe until it is too late…trust a nigerian woman at ure own peril especially the churchy ones . They don’t deserve it even durex company acknowledged it…..NO1 in cheating and may I add also NO1 in hypocrisy

    • Molly

      June 12, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      Uncle John

      Your comment is foolish sha.

      I am speechless.

      Every single human being has their flaws. Regardless of race.

    • John

      June 12, 2017 at 4:14 pm

      @molly yawnnnnnnnnnn?

      @darius never let hypocritical Nigerian women try to shame u into anything especially when they try to bring up ur female ancestors like ure mother or sister …it is funny that whenever they are insulting Men they don’t think about their fathers or brother or son..their fish brains doesnt let them think that far
      ..logic=0

    • The real dee

      June 12, 2017 at 9:22 pm

      ..”the worst place an unborn child can be is in a black woman’s womb”.

      @john, I can’t believe you just wrote that. I am a black Nigerian woman and a mother to a precious boy and I felt highly disrespected by that statement. So I assume the worst place you’ve been is your mother’s womb, if your mother is black.

      Women, please we need to do better in raising our sons. What kind of mother raised somebody like @john, who wrote something as distasteful and upsetting as the statement up there?

      God will help you o!

    • aj

      June 13, 2017 at 3:39 am

      john you are a foolish guy! how dare you insult the mothers of civilization and humanity? all those other women came from the black woman. show some class!

  6. Paul Adeyemo

    June 12, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    I can’t believe a woman wrote this. May God bless you ababudantly . DNA should be mandatory prior to the issue of birth certificate.

  7. LemmeRant

    June 12, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Oh wow.

    So we’ve now come full circle to recognize that Nigerian women cheat a lot. Even more that the men. Who would’ve thought of that? I thought we were all misogynists when we pointed this out.

    Awon hypocrites.

    • Mawi

      June 12, 2017 at 5:32 pm

      Gosh I know a couple residing in the same estate where I live. They have twins and they don’t belong to the hubby’s. He doesn’t know till this day but I even know their real father who used to reside in the same estate. He absolutely loves his wife but I can’t help but feel sorry for this man. You should see how much he spends on these kids. They were even birthed in the U.S. Their fees (just kindergarten o) is about N600k (Abuja na) I don’t know how but he needs to get a DNA done but no be me go talk am.

    • No frauds

      June 12, 2017 at 7:45 pm

      Lies!!!! Nigerians women don’t cheat more than the men ??? we are to open busy taking care of the home.

  8. Moniker

    June 12, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Can someone please wake me up? A woman stylishly shading women. Wonderful. Where are the women fighters. Comman defend yourselves from yourselves

    • Didi

      June 12, 2017 at 6:13 pm

      Is it that we did not read the same article. How is she shading other women. She is just explaining the legal implications of paternity fraud. If anything she telling women currently living this lie that nothing can really happen to them should they be caught.

  9. My two cents

    June 12, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Perhaps instead of ranting and venting about how awful Nigerian women are, we can step back a little and look at this issue objectively. First of all most of us that comment here are Nigerians, born and raised by Nigerian women. Our mothers are not promiscuous, foul mouthed women out to degrade their husbands and ruin their marriages.

    Look at how easy it is for some men in this forum who have sisters, wives, cousins, colleagues that are Nigerian women to write about them with such blatant disregard. If this is the way they are spoken about, how are they treated in their marriages and other such relationships? Most married women do not just go out and cheat on their partners. It is often caused by sadness, the need to feel loved and understood, the pressures of childlessness.

    This brings me to my next point. infertility in marriage is often blamed on the women. A perfectly healthy and fertile woman will remain childless and endure insults from her in-laws for years because her husband has refused to acknowledge his infertility. To release herself from the pressure she may look for a child elsewhere. I am not condoning a woman trying to pass off another man’s child as her husband’s or partner’s but there are pressures that exist in Nigerian marriages / relationships that may lead to women being deceitful.

    It is true that in some cases Nigerian men are different when they are married to women of other races. Most of the time these marriage occur in western countries with laws that protect the rights of women and their children. The man will lose everything if he messes up, his home, his money, sometimes even visitation with his children. Perhaps their attitudes are different because they have more to lose.

  10. Didi

    June 12, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    @Chief

    I think your mother raped you as a child. You seem to have some deep rooted psychological issues. Please don’t drop random figures that don’t even make sense and watch your grammar.

    • Mawi

      June 12, 2017 at 7:45 pm

      I still think he’s a pun by BN to create drama and generate more engagement

  11. just bants

    June 12, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    the worst place an unborn child can be is in a black woman’s womb”

    WOW.

    John,

    it quite obvious you hate yourself as this also applies to you and your own mother. The generalizations in your comments show your lack of intellect and the misery and hate you are spewing show a great level of anger & sadness in your life. In fact you almost sound suicidal to me.

    Please get help soon before its too late.

  12. KB Davies

    June 12, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Well said, Ivie. And regarding this –

    “I would advise women to simply pray that the child is a splitting image of the identified father, thus avoiding unnecessary questioning.”

    No questioning is unnecessary. A man RESERVES right to ensure his offspring are his. Any woman that has an issue with a DNA test should get over herself. A man is under no obligation to trust his spouse, and the spouse has no right to demand that trust.

    We need to move past this mindset that woman are angles by default and are beyond reproach or questioning.

    • cheryl king

      June 13, 2017 at 5:50 am

      I say why dont women pray that they can stay truthful, honest &, faithful

  13. skampa doe

    June 12, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    but @mawi you are incorrect, when it comes to percentages the population doesnt matter thats why people use percentages. thats why it is 30% percent of the population…. let me break it down, if supposing the population of women in nigeria is 1million and 500 thousand women cheat it means 50% of the women population cheat, if ghanian womens population is 500 thousand and 250 thousand cheat it still means 50 percent of women in ghana cheat….just to be clear on that

  14. KitKat

    June 12, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    There are some people whose comments I don’t bother reading.

    • Ayo

      June 13, 2017 at 10:44 am

      Those men commenting “well researched” paragraphs on a casual blog simply come across as lacking mental balance.

  15. Toke

    June 12, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    And we wonder why women are doing this! No I don’t. Infertility is the determining factor. It’s only in Nigeria they put the blame on the woman when she fails to have children and you wonder why women are bringing illegitimate children home. Until we as a society are ready to address infertility and stop pointing fingers at the women then all these nonsense will stop.

    • Baymax

      June 13, 2017 at 7:44 am

      True o.

      In many families, the man is the reason a couple can’t have a child. Yet Nigerian society would blame the woman and sometimes in her desperation to keep her home, either by having children or having a MALE child, she goes outside.

      However, there are many cases where the woman deliberately lies about the paternity of her child, either of material gain or to trap a man. Why do you think late Ibru’s daughter demanded in court that all the children should do a paternity to test in order to have a share in her father’s wealth? A friend lost her fiance to another lady who claimed she was pregnant for him. After they got married and she had the child, guess what? It wasn’t his.

      Long story short, it is WRONG to deceive a man into taking care of children that are not his. It’s sadder when the man does not deserve such a treatment.

    • Mr klaus

      December 24, 2017 at 4:36 pm

      I think you spoke based on myopic findings. Now, let’s broaden up. I have seen a man who provides well for his wife, his kids and his wife’s family, also He is fertile cause the woman had five kids for him. However, it was later found out that 3 of those kids belonged to her ex boyfriend…. Now, who forced her out? Who made her commit such sacrilege?

  16. MsAgams

    June 13, 2017 at 2:23 am

    Is Ivie Omoregie described as a woman’s and children’s rights promoter? I think she should stick to Energy and Project Finance Law

    • Tunde

      June 13, 2017 at 9:53 am

      You seem like someone this has personally affected. Knowing ones biological father is the right of every child. Abi don’t you know your own biological father??

    • Ngozi

      June 13, 2017 at 10:28 am

      I hate it when a lady behaves like a tout then when apprehended tries to pull out her Womens Liberation Card. If all is well why would take offence to this article.

  17. Ify

    June 13, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Great article Ivie. Just to point out that the correct word is likelihood, not likelyhood.

    • Google

      June 13, 2017 at 9:51 am

      Madam dictionary. You must be a first class student.

    • Ify

      June 13, 2017 at 3:20 pm

      There is nothing “dictionary” about it. Ivie writes great articles and the correction was made in good faith to ensure she maintains the high standards she already has in her writing. I don’t understand why people like you are so sensitive to correction.

  18. artklub

    June 13, 2017 at 10:19 am

    Solution: Stop marrying before you know who you really are and what you are all about. Stop marrying because of social pressure. Don’t marry trophy wives and husbands. Marry for love, commit and be faithful. Problem solved! And…I am reading a lot of hate towards Nigerian women by some men on this thread. Please look in the mirror. You take all advantage of your unearned privileges as a man. What have you done to even the playing field? You are not born to rule women and you are no better than the mama wey born you. Be a part of the solution. Most of you sound brainwashed and frustrated. Commit to improving the inequalities in society that also includes gender disparity then you will see improved behaviors from females. Right now everyone – men and women – are acting out because there is a serious society imbalance. Be a part of the solution, not the problem.

  19. 3ples

    June 13, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    @John cracked me up totally… I could almost visualize him clacking away at his keyboard with so much glee!!!! Omg! Lol

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